When your dog gets closer to her due date, you may wonder just how much longer she can go without having her babies. She may be acting uncomfortable or exhibiting unusual behavior but still may not be overdue. If you don't know your dog's whelp date, there are some clues to help you figure out if she is overdue.
Signs of Overdue Pregnancy in Dogs
Signs of overdue pregnancy in dogs
If you know the mating date or roughly how long your dog has been pregnant, you should begin to see some of the signs of labor during the last week of her pregnancy. If the timing is right and you still don't see signs of labor starting, then her pregnancy is overdue. The number of days until birth can range anywhere from 58 to 68 days. Your vet may not begin to worry until day 70. At that point, if there is no sign of labor or labor began and then appeared to stall, contact your vet.
Whelp date for dogs
The term "whelping" is used for a pregnant dog giving birth. Sometimes a dog's birth is called a "whelp date." If you want to come close to knowing the whelp date, try feeling your dog's abdomen. In average size dogs, the American Kennel Club says puppies feel like golf ball-size at 28 days. In small breed dogs, they may feel grape-sized. A veterinarian can also perform an ultrasound during pregnancy, which can help determine a more accurate whelp date.
Normal delivery date for dogs
While a normal delivery date for a dog will be less than 65 days, if your dog is 65 days pregnant she could still be within the normal range. If you know for sure the date of your dog's mating and you know that she's been pregnant for more than 64 days, be prepared to get your vet involved if the puppies don't come. Look for behavioral changes since these indicators let you know those adorable puppies will be coming soon! If they don't come, labor could be stalled, and your dog needs an intervention.
Dog due-date calculator
There is no pregnancy test from the drug store to help you determine your dog's whelp date, so it can be hard to know if your dog is overdue or not. Vets Now say that a dog's gestation period is 62 to 64 days, although certain breeds can have a slightly longer or shorter normal gestation period. If a female dog has not been spayed, she will go into "heat" twice per year or about every six months. However, the interval can vary with small breeds cycling three times per year and giant breeds sometimes cycling only once every 12 to 18 months. Each cycle generally lasts between 18 and 21 days. Your dog should show signs of whelping around 64 days after her last mating. If you don't know the time of her last mating, you can use these cycles as an approximate dog due-date calculator.
Signs of labor in dogs
The AKC says that an increasing appetite along with weight gain are clear signs of a delivery date approaching. As the whelp date draws near, you will see an increase in nipple size followed by a significant enlargement of her breasts. At the very end, as whelping approaches, you will probably be able to see the puppies moving inside her abdomen. Vets Now say that some dogs may be restless before going into labor. Some dogs might want to eat and some might not. As labor approaches, your dog may repeatedly lick her genitals. Your dog will experience contractions, and her water will break. A dog's temperature will drop right before her puppies start arriving. Your Vet Online says first stage of labor signs are a drop in body temperature and refusal to eat. In second stage labor your dog will start to strain and you should see fluid coming from her vulva.
Abnormal delivery in dogs
Most of the time, delivery happens just fine without intervention from people. Vets Now
Once your dog's delivery starts, she should produce a puppy within 30 minutes. If she doesn't, it may be a sign that she needs surgery. If you can see a puppy trying to emerge but it doesn't, or your dog is straining to deliver, she may need help. And finally, if she has been in the delivery stage for 12 hours or more and still has not delivered all of her puppies, call your veterinarian immediately.